Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Gujarat model? Allocation for Dalits 2.67% in 2017-18 budget against 7% population, lurking gap of Rs 7,001 crore

By Our Representative
A budget analysis by the Gujarat-based Dalit Arthik Adhikar Andolan has alleged that the Gujarat government has made the lowest percentage of allocation for the Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan (SCSP) in the state budget for 2017-18, presented in the state assembly last month, ever since 2010-11.
Carried out by Dalit scholar Vasudev Charupa, the analysis says, “Against the need-based requirement, and keeping in view of the resources in sight, the size of Annual Budget 2017-18 has been fixed at Rs 1,72,179.24 Crore. But of concern is the missing focus for the scheduled castes’ socio-economic development.”
Thus, he says, as against the Dalit population of 7%, the state government has allocated just about 2.67% for SCSP – or Rs 4,603.69 crore. The proportional allocation, he adds, should have been due Rs 11,604.88 crore. This means that a massive Rs 7,001.19 less amount was allocated for Gujarat Dalits’ development.
While the allocation for the outgoing financial year (2016-17) was 5.13%, double that of what has been allocated for 2017-18, the next lowest since 2010-11 was in 2014-15, 4.15%. The highest allocation was in 2012-13 – 5.63%.
“Instead of genuinely planning for the SCs in a manner that ensures that critical gaps to access development are filled so that they could reach level-playing field with the rest of the population in education, housing, health, employment, access to civic amenities, entrepreneurship, etc., the SCSP has been reduced to a mere accounting exercise”, Charupa says.
Contesting the central theme of the budget for fiscal 2017-18, which claims to be to “optimize inclusive development of human resources and trunk infrastructure through effective and transparent implementation”, the scholar says, “There remain serious gaps in the implementation of this strategy.”
Calling the 2.67% allocation “a huge denial of Dalits’ socio-economic constitutional rights”, Charupa calculates, over the last eight years, the total amount denied to the Dalits has reached Rs 13,95.97 crore.
Calling it the ruling BJP’s “caste mentality”, Charupa says, the SCSP, just as the Tribal Sub Plan (TSP), was “conceptualized to address the multiple developmental deficits faced by the SCs”.
“The idea was to channelize funds and benefits from the general sectors in the Central/state ministries towards the development of SCs and STs, at least in proportion to their share in the total population”, he adds.
Providing department-wise allocation for under SCSP, Charupa says, for water supply sanitation head Rs 130.23 crore has been allocated, which comes to 3.34%. This is particularly “objectionable” in view of the fact that Gujarat’s “metro cities and towns are facing crucial issue in slums lack of water and sanitation facilities.”
Then, under the nutrition head, only Rs 89.90 crore has been allocated – which comes to 2.58% of the allocation under it. According to Charupa, the low allocation comes despite the fact that Gujarat ranks high in malnourishment.
He adds, “The major heads related to the livelihood, such as labour and employment, soil and water conservation, animal husbandry, fisheries, food storage and warehousing, cooperation, industries and other general economic sectors have been allocated anywhere between 0.04% to 3%.”

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